Robert Browning

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Robert Browning "Home-Thoughts, From Abroad"

Oh, to be in England, Now that April's there, And whoever wakes in England Sees, some morning, unaware, That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf, While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough In England - now! And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows - Hark! Where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops - at the bent spray's edge - That's the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children's dower, - Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!  

"Home-Thoughts, From Abroad" celebrates the everyday and the domestic, taking the form of a short lyric poem. The poet casts himself in the role of the homesick traveler, longing for every detail of his beloved home. At this point in his career, Browning had spent quite a bit of time in Italy, so perhaps the longing for England has a bit of biographical urgency attached to it. The poem describes a typical springtime scene in the English countryside, with birds singing and flowers blooming. Browning tries to make the ordinary magical, as he describes the thrush's ability to recreate its transcendental song over and over again.

Interestingly, except for the poem's rhyme scheme and number of lines, it resembles an inverted sonnet: it divides into two sections, each of which has been characterized by its own tone. The first, shorter stanza establishes the emotional tenor of the poem- where clearly the speaker longs for his home. This section contains two trimeter lines, followed by two tetrameter lines, three pentameter lines, and a final trimeter line. The metrical pattern and the rhyme scheme gives it a sort of rising...
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